END OF BASQUE TERRORISM

First ETA inmate moved on grounds of compassion

Aitzol Gogorza has severe mental health problems

In a first gesture toward sick ETA members serving jail sentences, the Interior Ministry has transferred Aitzol Gogorza from a Seville prison to one in Basauri, Bizkaia. Since ETA announced a unilateral ceasefire in October of last year, the group — as well as the Basque radical abertzale left, the Socialists in the region and the Basque Nationalist Party — has been calling on the government to make penitentiary concessions as a stepping stone toward the definitive disbandment of the organization.

In this case, the government was at pains to point out, the transfer of Gogorza was based on adherence to the Penal Code and penitentiary law: the ETA inmate, 37, suffers from severe mental health problems and has been on suicide watch since last November. The Interior Ministry has said it will study each case individually.

Two ETA prisoners, José Ángel Biguri Camino and Gotzone López de Luzuriaga, have taken their cases for release directly to the courts. They were members of the Araba military cell, responsible for, among other attacks, bombing a Civil Guard barracks in 1989. Both suffer from terminal cancer.

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